“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
Today I read something which probably everyone else here realised, but I did not. It was a quote from John MacArthur, on the Defending Contending blog, explaining that the ‘sheeps clothing’ reference in the NT is not actually about someone dressed up to look like a sheep, but is about someone wearing a garment (most likely a cloak) made of wool – the mark of a shepherd at that time.
We all recognise here that that there are false teachers and prophets within the church, but what I had not realised was that Jesus’ reference in this verse was so clearly aimed at false pastors (being those who look after and lead sheep).
Here is the Defending Contending Article, which is a quote from John MacArthur.
So these are people who say all the right things about God, use all the right language, and seem to conform to what we would expect a pastor to look like. But inwardly they are not what they appear. Their fruit will show this – how do they actually treat other people? How do they treat their staff, congregation and family? Do they have good relationships with people where the evidence of love can be seen? Are they not only speaking about Jesus, but being an example of Jesus, in their actions over time? Not just in grand or public gestures, but in the smaller, day to day things, that don’t generate publicity?
After all, we are to be led by those who live their lives as Jesus would live them – its about living, not just talking, managing events, or even knowing scripture back to front.
This blog gets a lot of spam which is filtered out, and the current trend is for spammers to make lots of flattering remarks or very positive statements so that people will accept their remarks and include them in their site. But the links in their names will often take you to some kind of money making site with content that has no relationship to our subject matter here.
There’s a parallel here to those false pastors – you will probably hear a lot of very positive, pleasant statements that aren’t disturbing at all. But if you follow them through in detail, and do all that they say, you may end up somewhere that has no relationship to following Christ, and you may end up wasting a lot of your money and time in something very unfruitful.
So perhaps these pastors are like spam. Fortunately, after a while, you can come to recognise them by various hallmarks, learning to distinguish between them and the real thing. The real thing is to be valued and appreciated.